The 2008-2009 Women's Tennis Team (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
With a crop of new freshmen and no seniors, it was a rebuilding year for the 2008-2009 BYU women’s tennis team. Despite its youth, the Cougars overcame inexperience to post a 12-10 overall record and finish the season as the No. 64 team in the country.
“We were young and talented this year,” BYU coach Craig Manning said.
Blue chip recruit McCall Jones began making her presence felt immediately, capturing the singles title at her first collegiate tournament, the BYU Invitational. The freshman swept through the singles draw, defeating opponents from Air Force, Utah and Boise State to win the tournament.
Kristina Doerr also made an impact in the fall, earning a spot in the Round of 16 at the Central Region Championship and defeating the No. 22 player in the country at the Cal Nike Invitational.
Despite impressive performances across the board during the fall season, the Cougars struggled to gain momentum to open spring competition. Top-tier teams challenged the squad at every turn. The schedule included 13 ranked programs, among them No. 5 Notre Dame and No. 16 Arkansas.
As the spring season continued, Jones and January arrival Megan Price became a crucial part of the team. Jones, who played at the No. 1 position in both singles and doubles, recorded a win over No. 45 Kelcy Tefft in the match against Notre Dame. She paired with Kristina Doerr to defeat the No. 24 doubles team in the country. The duo reached its highest ranking at No. 69.
Price was named Mountain West Conference Player of the Week for her singles and doubles performances against Kansas, Kansas State and Oklahoma. The freshman also racked up a 10-match win streak midseason to help the Cougars to four consecutive wins against conference opponents.
Price teamed with fellow Aussie Elle Carney to go undefeated in doubles during the regular season and compile a 9-2 overall record. She also partnered with Jones to earn a 5-3 record. The pair was ranked as high as No. 60 nationally.
The Cougars’ efforts did not go unnoticed and the team brought in several MWC awards. Jones was named Conference Freshman of the Year and earned a spot on the All-MWC singles team. She and Doerr were honored with a place on the doubles team along with Carney and Price. Doerr also made the All-MWC singles team for the second straight year.
Final rankings showed the strides the Cougars made throughout the season. BYU finished at No. 8 as a team in the regional rankings. Jones came in at No. 7 and Doerr notched the No. 16 spot to conclude spring play. The pair clinched the No. 5 position in doubles.
BYU wrapped up the season with a 5-3 conference record, landing the Cougars the No. 4 seed in the tournament. New Mexico, who the team defeated 4-3 in the regular season, was the first obstacle on the way to another MWC Championship. But the Lobos proved to be too much for BYU, reversing the scoreline to earn a 4-3 victory to end the Cougars’ season after the first round.
“We felt like we had a strong year coming close to beating several highly ranked teams only to lose 3-4 on numerous occasions, “ Manning said. “Next year, with a little more experience, those 3-4 losses can be turned into 4-3 wins.”
Next year, an older and more experienced team will continue to compete with top programs across the country. The Cougars will lose no letterwinners in 2009-2010 and will look to improve their play and become a conference contender.